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Creating a Case Library

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Description

In the Computer Science class CS2340, Objects and Design, students are offered extra credit forwriting up their class projects (or additional design/programming projects) in a way useful to future students. The class projects had to have recieved a 90 or better (an “A”) in order to be able to post them – future students are most interested in looking at examples that got A’s, then those that did not. Students get one to five points added to the bottom line of their grade (i.e., 1-5% of their final grade!), so it’s worthwhile to them. Points are awarded based on the amount of effort that the student is believed to have put into creating the case. Excellent cases include corrections to what was graded down on the project, description of the design process, strengths/weaknesses analyses of the project, etc. Cases have included tutorials, new projects, descriptions of group process, and new projects (e.g., computer music, 3-D computer graphics, and teaching programs). A nice feature of this structure is that multiple solutions to the same problem appear, in a large enough class.

How to Set It Up: The setup in the CoWeb was pretty simple: The teacher only had to create the Cases page.

Role of the Teacher: The teacher has several roles in this activity:
  • The teacher has to announce the extra credit activity, and hype it some in the
class to draw attention to it.
  • The teacher has to grade the extra credit. In CS2340, students are required to
send an email to the teacher with the URL of the case. This makes the job of grading a bit easier for the teacher: He only has to walk the email and grade those.
  • The teacher has to convey value for the cases to future classes. In CS2340, the
teacher usually organizes the Case page to indicate what the cases are about (e.g., extra projects vs. assignments, tutorials vs. essays) and even what the better ones are. This conveys to the next class that the teacher actually reads and values them.
The teacher has to be cautious in creating assignments in future classes. Obviously, the exact same problem can’t be used term-after-term: The answers will be posted. However, future problems can build upon the cases. In CS2340, new problems are often chosen recognizing that part of the solution can be found in the Cases page, so new problems can be more complex and more interesting (and require the student to use the Cases page!).

Suggestions for Future Use: A case library like this could be used in any designoriented class. It’s less useful in classes where problems have single answers—having multiple cases on the same single answer aren’t too useful, unless the descriptions associated are good and come from different perspectives. It’s an important feature here that the exact same CoWeb is used every term. We did try to point to a case library created in the previous term in another CoWeb from a new CoWeb – students didn’t go visit the other CoWeb. It was “far enough away” that students wouldn’t visit the library.
Source: A Catalog of CoWeb Uses (Biblionetz:t02238)

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Topic revision: r1 - 18 Aug 2006, doebeli
 
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